On Monday, Donald Trump confirmed he will participate in the presidential debates with Hillary Clinton. Trump told ABC News, “I look forward to the debates. I mean, I think it is an important element of what we’re doing. I think you have an obligation to do the debates,” adding that only “hurricanes [or a] natural disaster” could stop him from attending.
From Dallas News:
Trump had previously said he was worried the moderators might treat him unfairly. He’d also accused Clinton of rigging the debate schedule to compete with NFL games.
The three presidential and single vice-presidential debates are arranged by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. The schedule has been set since September 2015.
There are inevitably conflicts. A debate Sept. 26 is the same time the Atlanta Falcons take on the New Orleans Saints, and the Oct. 9 debate will conflict with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants game.
The candidates have contrasting styles to prepare for the debates, the first of which is at the end of the month. Clinton has taken a more studious approach, while Trump has been talking out issues with advisers, according to multiple reports.
The Clinton campaign has been hitting the books searching for ways to trip up Trump during the debates. The New York Times reports the Clinton team reached out to psychology experts to create a personality profile of Trump to gauge how he may respond to her during the debates.
“She feels like it is a proving ground, that this is a job interview,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told The Washington Post. “I think she will approach the debate with a great deal of seriousness and a sense of purpose, and also keenly aware that Donald Trump is capable of anything.”
Clinton’s aides have also been searching for a person to play Trump in mock debates.
It was rumored Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban was tapped to be the Trump stand-in. However, Cuban confirmed to The Dallas Morning News that is not true.
Cuban is also not an official Clinton campaign surrogate despite making numerous TV appearances during the last several weeks.
“I don’t have any formal relationship with the Clinton campaign,” Cuban wrote in an email. “No one has provided me any messaging for my appearances. They haven’t arranged any appearances. Everything is on my own.”
Trump has been resistant to participating in mock debates and instead prefers roundtable discussions with his advisers, including Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio host; Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News chairman; campaign CEO Steve Bannon; and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, according to CNN.
“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Trump told The Times. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony — like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
It is unlikely that either Jill Stein of the Green Party or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will be allowed to participate in the presidential debates.
To participate in the debates, candidates must be reaching at least 15 percent in national polls and be on ballots in enough states to have a mathematical shot at winning the presidency. The polling percentage is based on an average of recent polls.
The polling standard has been in place since 2000. According to the debate commissions’ website the decisions was that “the 15 percent threshold best balanced the goal of being sufficiently inclusive to invite those candidates considered to be among the leading candidates, without being so inclusive that invitations would be extended to candidates with only very modest levels of public support, thereby jeopardizing the voter education purposes of the debates.”
Former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders told NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that the polling threshold is “probably too high” but did not specify where it should be set.
The debate schedule:
Sept. 26: Lester Holt, of NBC Nightly News, will moderate a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Oct. 4: Elaine Quijano of CBS News, will moderate the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.
Oct. 9: Martha Raddatz of ABC and Anderson Cooper of CNN will moderate a presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis.
Oct. 19: Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate a presidential debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.